Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS?

appears to be the favorite to score a convergence infrastructure deal with , after recent IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) wins at Cingular Wireless LLC and .

Analysts see the vendor in pole position at Verizon because of its perceived early lead in the IMS technology that promises voice, video, and data services across cellular, WiFi, and wired networks.

"I am almost certain of it... and given recent announcements [Lucent] is in a good position to win it," says Richard Windsor, communications equipment analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. As Citigroup analyst Alex Henderson recently wrote in a note on the Cingular deal: “Lucent's IMS initiative is further along than we, or anyone else, originally thought, with revenue recognition now likely to occur in the first half of 2006.”

For its part, Verizon has been almost mute (compared to major rivals) about its plans for converging its fixed and mobile networks but is now quietly working behind the scenes to formulate a fixed/mobile convergence (FMC) strategy, according to sources in the industry.

Verizon has remained silent even as its rivals -- Cingular and Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) -- have laid out ambitious plans to offer unified services across cellular, cable, and WiFi networks. (See Cingular's Got Big FMC Plans and Cable Firms, Sprint In FMC Deal.)

But sources tell Unstrung that Verizon has been testing gear from two vendors and that both the fixed and mobile arms of the company are involved in the trials. "I heard that they tested some FMC apps with at least one vendor through the summer," says an industry source.

Nobody from Verizon returned calls and emails about the operator's IMS strategy or potential partners.

But why would Lucent have an advantage at Verizon? One industry source says carriers appreciate Lucent's approach to the implementation of a Home Subscriber Server (HSS), one of the core network elements in IMS architecture.

Lucent's HSS, which it calls the Unified Subscriber Data Server, sits at the middle of the carrier's legacy wireless and wireline subscriber databases, and draws subscriber information from all of them. Lucent believes carriers need solutions that allow a step-by-step approach to implementing IMS.

Add this to the fact that Lucent's name and incumbency status gives it pole position with carriers looking to begin the IMS process. This is why Lucent is -- for the moment at least -- the IMS favorite.

Verizon's network architecture is also playing a part in the decision to move to IMS. The CDMA (Code-Division Multiple Access) network technology used by both the Sprint and Verizon networks tends to force the operators to move full steam ahead to an IMS implementation, because there are few companies out there offering interim FMC solutions that support CDMA.

"It's sort of IMS or nothing," notes one industry source.

Contrast this with GSM (Global System for Mobile) operator Cingular, which is taking smaller steps to IMS by initially implementing a hybrid system that also uses unlicensed mobile access technology, developed by startup Kineto Wireless Inc., that ensures the smooth transition of calls between cellular and WiFi networks.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading, contributed to this report.

For a comprehensive look at how IMS is driving network convergence, check out IMS: Blueprint for an Applications Revolution, to be held at the Langham Hotel in London on December 8, 2005.

Hosted by Graham Finnie, Heavy Reading Senior Analyst, IMS: Blueprint for an Applications Revolution will ensure that attendees understand both the opportunities and threats the IMS revolution presents.

For more information, click here.

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optodoofus 12/5/2012 | 2:55:05 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? I think we can thank Qualcom for the lack of UMA support on CDMA handsets. Technically, this type of technology for CDMA is not fundamentally different than for GSM. It's just that vendor Q is dragging their feet on it.

Perhaps when their IMS implementations are bogged down and their GSM competitors are winning business with FMC services, the CDMA wireless carriers will turn up the heat and get this problem resolved.

voyce_overipee 12/5/2012 | 2:55:04 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? I don't know anything about UMA, but doesn't it use yet another VoIP protocol for call control layer? ie, different than SIP?
Why wouldn't they just use SIP as part of their IMS/FMC story?
voip_seer 12/5/2012 | 2:55:02 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? UMA has been absorbed into 3GPP. It is now known as GAN for generic access network. Most of the access side will be WiFi, but it doesn't preclude WiMax, bluetooth, etc...

As for the control protocol, the UMA Network Controller (UNC) has to talk MGCP to control a media gateway. I don't believe that SIP comes into play here. Once the mobile client is connected to a security gateway, the UNC connects to a AAA server and then routes allowed subscribers to access the mobile core through the gateway.
voyce_overipee 12/5/2012 | 2:55:01 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? So it speaks a UMA control protocol to a UNC, which would then either speak SIP to get to the wired side or inter-IMS, or control a media gateway with MGCP/H.248 to get the call into the PSTN?

Then it is another control protocol. Meanwhile some vendors and operators are trying to get the access devices (wireless, wired, whatever) to a more common protocol set so they can use the same or similar equipment and design regardless of access medium.

Not that i think that's going to happen.
optical_man 12/5/2012 | 2:55:01 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? voip_seer,
"As for the control protocol, the UMA Network Controller (UNC) has to talk MGCP to control a media gateway. I don't believe that SIP comes into play here."

SIP can't come into play with the Lucent solution. Their VoIP switch does MGCP not SIP. They rely on Broadsoft to do the SIP portion. This is, what I believe, the fatal flaw in Lucent's purchase of the Telica group. No SIP.

I'm pleasently surprised that good old Lucent has won some IMS deals, but fully aware that no money has exchanged hands outside of Professional Services work.

I believe in IMS. I do not believe Lucent has the manpower left to pull it off, or the Balls.

They are doing well in wireless wins, but this is something more. Lucent doesn't have a way to deliver SIP without the need of an Application Server. Their Telica switch was never designed for, and doesn't handle SIP, only MGCP (does the fire sale price NOW make sense?, a VoIP Switch that does SIP internally would have been much more expensive, but Lucent figured, we'll figure it out later) Guess what? It's later. NO SIP.
They require Broadsoft, VocalData (now Tekelec), or some other Application Server to deliver SIP to end user devices. It just won't work.

Now, let's get up to the higher levels of IMS.
I will let others debate the pieces of 'that' puzzle.

Bottom line, Lucent has done a fine job of selling IMS as their future, but, unfortunately, unlike other startups who sold big dreams then had to scramble to deliver (Microsoft, Cisco), Lucent doesn't have the talent pool left to pull it off.
This in no way suggests that Lucent doesn't have smart Engineers, they do. They just do not have enough of them, and the smart ones who are there are living in an environment that is not conducive to breakout thinking, or breakout actions.
"you're not listening. ME open my mouth about that? Are you nuts? I'm making $110,000 a year. What do you want me to do, screw that up to prove some point that we both know is true, that they don't want to hear? Let's just let them sell this story, and figure it out later."
Quote recently heard from Chicago Lucent.
voyce_overipee 12/5/2012 | 2:55:00 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? SIP can't come into play with the Lucent solution. Their VoIP switch does MGCP not SIP. They rely on Broadsoft to do the SIP portion. This is, what I believe, the fatal flaw in Lucent's purchase of the Telica group. No SIP.

I know you were right, but things have changed. They have a SIP box. I've seen it. They also still have to partner for pieces (Broadsoft for app server, Acme for SBC, Leapstone for SCIM, Dorado for OSS), but the Bsoft role is diminishing. We'll see if it survives the trials.

alchemy 12/5/2012 | 2:54:59 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? I'm sort of amused with what companies are labeling "IMS". You scrawl IMS on your boxes in spray paint even though they don't in any way comply with standards like 3GPP or 3GPP2.

UMA tunnels legacy 2G GSM signaling over IP to a box that pretends it's a GSM base station. I think it's a totally reasonable way to provide WiFi access since you don't need to re-invent anything.
fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 2:54:57 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? Verizon's fishtank is going to be littered with bicycles soon, but at least their old pals at Lucent will be the ones to sell them the rusty iron. The common heritage seems to have some kind of quantum-force attraction.

VZW's CDMA network, as it stands now, works pretty well. It handles voice nicely, and it has a couple of data services that some users may find attractive. So why waste all that money to subtract value with IMS? It looks like the old Bell System greed, of course, looking for more things to attach Message Units to. The phone side handles it well enough but the "IP" side doesn't yet offer Deep Packet Inspection, so it's conceivable that some data subscribers are, horrors to Betsy, sneaking some encrypted VoIP tunnels across their phones, in violation of the EULA, and thus depriving them of their outrageous 1980's-level international calling charges! Gotta stop that!

The wireline side is more restrained. The two spineless wonders on the FCC, Copps and Adelstein, managed to get just a wee bit of gumption together and imposed some conditions on the MCI acquisition. So for a two year period, the wireline company's IP services have to conform to the FCC's Internet content regulations, which include some namby-pamby discouragement of the kind of filtering that IMS is designed for. This is not a big issue, however, since VZW and Lucent working together can barely do "hello world" in two years. Thus they can let the contracts out for IMS now, begin in the wireless space, and then clamp down on DSL around early 2008.
LightGaugeGuitarString 12/5/2012 | 2:54:43 AM
re: Lucent in the Lead for Verizon IMS? Optical Man,

You sure about the Telica switch and SIP? I Googled Telica + SIP and came up with the following announcements:

"BroadSoft, Telica Complete SIP Interoperability Testing" March 2002


"Telica and Sylantro Combine Voice Packet Switch with SIP-based Class 5 services" May 2002

Sounds like SIP to me...

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